The Top 25 Fielding Seasons in the Last 20 Years
Much like base running and base stealing, fielding has become less and less appreciated within most MLB circles. In place of these elements -- justified or not -- is an overemphasis on hitting and pitching, particularly of the power variety.
In the interest of preserving the name of players like that -- and also acknowledging the outstanding defensive play of more recent studs -- we're here to take a look at the best fielding seasons in the last 20 years, based on advanced metrics.
Advanced metrics? That's where FanGraphs' defensive runs above average (DEF) comes into play. This metric is probably the best gauge for a player's overall defensive value because it combines value relative to position and positional value relative to league average. And for a reference point, a DEF of roughly 9 to 10 is equal to 1 win of value. So, a player with a DEF of 20 for the season would have added a little more than 2 wins to their team.
These are the best of the best we're talking about. Their efforts provide their teams with big-time value, but the question is exactly how much?